Thursday, May 21, 2009

Confounding Art shows and new work

Well we are into the middle of May over here in Ireland. What does that mean? Well not much really. I had to start the post with something. Had a chance to see the show over at the Galway Arts Centre. They have Lee Welch on two floors. The exhibit is called At the still point of the turning world. Here is a bit from the write up on it.
At the still point of the turning world. offers a constellation of points of reference, provocation and stimulation. Nonetheless, the show is modest in its form, comprising of a small array of carefully selected elements, which have been placed with thoughtful deliberation throughout the gallery space. Materials derived from contemporary phenomena and historic events make up much of this exhibition, including vintage magazine advertisements, rare editions of books and bootleg records. As the title suggests, At the still point of the turning world. offers a quiet and still space for reflection.
It goes on quite a bit. You can read more here. As I was walking through the exhibit I felt I wasn't getting something. The show is very sparse. Books, record sleeves, a magazine ad and so on. If the viewer takes the time to read the write up there is a reference to counterfeit cultural artifacts (relating to certain items in the exhibit),ok fine, but if you don't read the write up how on earth would you pick up on that? How does a person who walks in off the street engage with this show? I felt it was too vague and almost plays to an inclusive art club ego. Who is this for? Not the general public I would argue, or maybe I am not giving the gp enough credit. I admit I was lost trying to access, engage or relate with this exhibit. Any thoughts? I will say that the wall piece was quite good though. Found on the first floor, it plays with one's natural curiosity, but ends up confounding the viewer. Taking up almost all of a small room to the back of the first floor the wall pulls the viewer around to the back where you realise that there is no way to the other side. So you go back to the entrance thinking you missed it back there. Its at this point that you realize there is no access to the other side, no door no entry. Curses! I caught myself smiling at the manipulation. Here are a few rather poor cell/mobile pics of the show.

In the second Floor main room, this had a record player as well as a few pieces on the wall. The record sleeve in this image was a Beatles’ bootleg copy of Indian Rope Trick.

Playing from the record player was Apocalypse Now. Listening to Martin Sheen's spoken diary entries, as he was riding the patrol boat down the river made me want to go out and rent that flick again. I found myself wishing there was a chair or bench so I could sit and listen for longer.

Counterfeit Books
‘pirated’ editions of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover published in the late 1920’s

So this show is on till the 23rd of May. If you get a chance check it out. Glean your own opinion let me know what you thought.
Here are a couple images of my recent work. The paintings are in progress and a small 3d piece. Its meant to lie on its side. Washed up on shore I suppose, derelict.

Havent titled this little guy yet.


Michael Byers 4:31 AM  

As for the show you saw I think you just need to learn more about art to and then maybe you'll get it. Or maybe they just don't want you to be apart of 'their' club.

I'm kidding of course. I get that sometimes when I view certain exhibitions. I wonder who the hell the artists is trying to speak to. I mean a lot of people I know talk about this doing art for the sake of doing art. The idea of doing a piece of work for your own personal reasons only. We all know that's a load of bunk. I think there is probably only a tiny number of artists in the world who genuinely do art for themselves not caring about what others think. Who are we kidding here. All artists have some form of an ego and need it to be stroked. I just shrug my shoulders when I come across an exhibition like that where I have no idea what the hell the artist was doing.

As for your paintings I love the way they're coming along. Also that 3D piece. I want it. I love it. I think I like it as if it was hanging on the wall like that. But I'm sure it would look cool on it's side as well.

Ok I'm done blabbing. haha. Take care friend.

Constance,  12:23 PM  

I agree that art should'nt confound and confuse, it should engage, hook in and hold you. There should be conversation happening, questions and answers or "wtf" moments that either get you there or follow you home.

Painting is wonderful in this respect- it is indirect and suggestive and in the end open for interpretation. Like you say, the key is to hold the viewer.. it takes skill to accomplish a 2 dimensional thing strong enough to do it. :)

Shannon Leigh Phair 7:34 PM  

Simon I love your Small Guy sculpture. It is really sweet. I think one of the best parts is the tiny little happy flags-as ephemeral as they appear they seem to 'hold' the piece together. Is it flat on the back? How big is it?

Alison 12:46 PM  

Hello Simon
I like your work and your blog is really good too
I am also a fan of shower of Kunst
check out my site with cora cummins foldeditions and workroom elsewhere